The museum facade
Ornithology :: Staff & Contact Information

Dr. Jeremy J. Kirchman, Curator of Birds
I am broadly interested in the evolution and biogeography of birds, but most of my research focuses on populations found on islands. Islands have long been considered “natural laboratories of evolution”, and studying birds on islands teaches us much about speciation, extinction, and adaptation.  I have a special interest in one group of birds, the rails (Rallidae), which are great island colonists, found even on the most remote oceanic islands.  Many rail species have evolved to become totally flightless on islands that lack mammalian predators. Closer to home, I am studying several species of birds that breed in “islands” of coniferous (boreal) forest isolated above 3000 feet of elevation in New York’s mountain ranges. I want to know if these populations of Bicknell’s Thrush, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Spruce Grouse and other boreal forest specialists are genetically isolated and evolving independently of one another. These high-elevation populations may be imperiled as the climate continues to warm.

Additional Information
Contact Page
Ornithology Collection
Publications by Kirchman and collaborators

Joe Bopp, Collections Manager, Mammalogy and Ornithology

Additional Information
Contact Page
Ornithology Collection
Mammology Collection


Alyssa FitzGerald,
NYSM Graduate Fellow and Ph.D. student, State University of New York at Albany.

Alyssa joined the “Kirchman Lab” in 2011 and in 2012 conducted her first field season studying boreal forest birds in New York, Vermont, and Maine. She is planning a dissertation that will examine the evolution of Bicknell’s Thrush and its relatives in the genus Catharus.

Dr. Joel Ralston, former NYSM Graduate Fellow and Ph.D. student, current Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, Utica College, Utica, NY.

Joel obtained his Ph.D. in 2010, studying the biogeography of Blackpoll Warblers throughout their breeding range. He and his students at Utica College continue to collaborate with NYSM researchers on the evolution and ecology of boreal forest birds.

Dr. Kathy Schneider, Professor of Biology, Hudson Valley Community College.

Kathy recently completed a sabbatical semester in residence at NYSM, and continues to collaborate on a study tracking the northward expansion of Red-Bellied Woodpeckers using data from museums, Christmas Bird Counts, and the Breeding Bird Survey. Kathy teaches an ornithology class at HVCC, and always brings her students to visit the Museum.

Van Keuren
Alison Van Keuren, NYSM volunteer.

Alison works in the Ornithology Collection, cataloging and databasing our extensive collection of bird eggs and nests. He is an avid birder with a huge life list.



Museum Open Tuesday-Sunday: 9:30 am to 5 pm | Carousel Hours: 10 am to 4:30 pm
Office of Cultural Education | New York State Education Department
Information: 518-474-5877 | Contact Us | Image Requests | Terms of Use
Join us on Facebook See us on YouTube See us on Flickr